Level Two: Prisms, Rainbows, and Spectrum Histograms


Teacher's Page

Activity 3-U2.0: Learning About Rainbows

Suggested Grade Level: 3-6

Objectives:
Lesson: Students will understand how rainbows form when the light reflected off of raindrops is bent to reveal its component colors.
Thematic: Energy, Patterns of Change, Systems and Interactions.
Content: How do we use light?
Process: Observing, Relating.

Description of Activity: Students will read an explanation of how rainbows form. Students are encouraged to do an outdoor activity where they can make their own rainbows using a spray bottle or hose.

Notes: The outdoor activity can be done as a homework assignment or a class project. If there is not enough time for this activity a graphic of a child making a rainbow is provided in the web page for this activity.




Activity 4-U2.1: Learning About Prisms

Suggested Grade Level: 3-6

Objectives:
Lesson: Students will comprehend that prisms can make a rainbow of a light source's component colors through the bending of light.
Thematic: Energy, Patterns of Change, Systems and Interactions.
Content: What are the properties of light?
Process: Observing, Relating.

Description of Activity: Students will read a brief explanation of prisms and how they bend light to make a rainbow.

Notes: This page can be followed up with an in-class demonstration of light passing through a prism if you have a prism to work with. A light bulb or sunlight can be used with a prism to create a rainbow.




Activity 5-U2.2: Adjusting the Intensity, or Energy, of Light

Suggested Grade Level: 3-6

Objectives:
Lesson: Students will explore how light can differ in intensity.
Thematic: Energy, Patterns of change, Scale and Structure, Systems and Interactions.
Content: What are the sources of light?
Process: Observing, Communicating, Relating.

Description of Activity: Students will read an explanation of different sources of light along with how the intensity, or energy, of light can change depending upon its source. Afterwards students will manipulate a color card that simulates various intensities of light. These color cards simulate bins in telescopes that capture various wavelengths of light.

Notes: It may be helpful to have a discussion with your students as to which light sources they are familiar with are dim and which are very bright.



Activity 6-U2.3: Indicating the Intensity of a Light Source's Component Colors with Numbers

Suggested Grade Level: 3-6

Objectives:
Lesson: Students will compare and contrast the component colors of different sources of light using "color cards" that indicate the component colors of a light source and that color's intensity.
Thematic: Energy, Patterns of Change, Scale and Structure, Systems and Interactions
Content: What are the sources of light?
Process: Observing, Communicating, Comparing, Ordering, Categorizing, Relating.

Description of Activity: Students will further explore how light sources differ from each other by viewing graphics of light from different sources passing through a prism. Color cards will be used to indicate the intensity of the light source's component colors with a number from 0-10.

Notes: It is important to discuss the student's observations as to how the sources of light differ in regards to the color cards. Writing down these observations would be a good way to include language arts within this activity.



Activity 7-U3.1: Making a Histogram of a Light Source

Suggested Grade Level: 3-6

Objectives:
Lesson: Students will observe how histograms of a light source can be made by plotting the intensity of that source's component colors on a bar graph. Students will also compare and contrast the histograms of different light sources.
Thematic: Energy, Patterns of Change, Scale and Structure, Systems and Interactions.
Content: What are the sources of light? How do we use light?
Process: Observing, Communicating, Comparing, Ordering, Categorizing, Relating.

Description of activity: Students will view a histogram of sunlight along with its color cards indicating component color intensity. The computer converts the color cards into a bar on the graph thereby creating a histogram. Afterwards the students will compare the histograms of different light sources with the histogram of sunlight.

Notes: This activity requires an understanding of bar graphs. Make sure that your students are able to read and interpret bar graphs before attempting this activity.




Activity 8-U3.2: Comparing and Matching Histograms of Sources of Light

Suggested Grade Level: 3-6

Objectives:
Lesson: Students will identify a histogram's light source by comparing that histogram with the histogram of known light sources.
Thematic: Energy, Scale and Structure, Systems and Interactions.
Content: What are the sources of light? What is light?
Process: Observing, Communicating, Comparing, Ordering, Categorizing, Relating, Inferring.

Description of Activity: Students will be given a number of color cards representing a light sources component colors in the visible part of the light spectrum and a histogram of this light source. They must then compare this histogram with the histograms of various sources in order to identify the light source.

Notes: Making a report of this activity is a good way to bring language arts into this activity.



Activity 9-U3.3: Designing Light Sources

Suggested Grade Level: 3-6

Objectives:
Lesson: Students will make their own histogram of a light source.
Thematic: Energy, Patterns of Change, Scale and Structure, Systems and Interactions.
Content: What are the sources of light? What is light?
Process: Observing, Communicating, Comparing, Ordering, Categorizing, Relating, Inferring, Applying.

Description of Activity: Students create their own sources of light by creating their own histogram of a light source.

Notes: Have your students use their imaginations to describe the light histogram that they made. They can write about their light source using the terms "component colors" and "light intensity" as a way of assessing their understanding of light histograms.


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